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Showing posts with label TKO Group Holdings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TKO Group Holdings. Show all posts

May 3, 2024

John Laurinaitis Joins Vince McMahon Arbitration Effort, Denies Janel Grant Accusations

Recently, attorneys representing Vince McMahon motioned to have former assistant Janel Grant's lawsuit against him, John Laurinaitis, WWE, and numerous unnamed corporate officers for sex trafficking, abuse, and harassment, brought to private arbitration, as per the stipulations of the disputed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) between McMahon and Grant.

According to Wrestlenomics's Brandon Thurston, former WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis, who was also named in Grant's suit, has joined McMahon's motion to move the case into private arbitration, which would keep any further developments and discoveries out of the public record.

"John Laurinaitis has filed a Motion today fully joining in and adopting Vince McMahon's motion to compel arbitration," Edward Brennan, attorney for Laurinaitis, wrote in a statement. "Mr. Laurinaitis corroborates Mr. McMahon in publicly declaring that Ms. Grant's allegations of sexual abuse and coercion in her Complaint are completely unfounded. My client will fight these false allegations together with Mr. McMahon in the proper forum, arbitration."

The motion is a pivot from Laurinaitis's initial position, as his attorneys' original stance was "Like the plaintiff, Mr. Laurinaitis is a victim in this case, not a predator," which seemingly corroborated some of Grant's accusations, albeit while still denying Grant's accusations against Laurinaitis himself. 

Attorneys for McMahon responded to Laurinaitis's motion, writing "In January 2024, Ms. Grant, a 43-year-old with a law degree, who was in love with Mr. McMahon and devastated by their break-up, filed an outrageous and false lawsuit to ruin Mr. McMahon's career and reputation. Now, her false allegations are slowly unraveling. Today, Mr. Laurinaitis' attorney confirmed his client will corroborate Mr. McMahon's account and expose the lies within the Complaint. Despite their intense efforts, Ms. Grant's attorneys won't be able to suppress the truth from coming out."

McMahon resigned from his responsibilities at WWE and TKO Group Holdings in January of this year, as a result of the lawsuit. Federal investigators are also looking into the sex trafficking accusations against McMahon. McMahon recently sold off nearly $300 million worth of his stock in TKO and its parent company Endeavor. He now currently owns less than 5% of TKO Group Holdings, which he helped found in 2023.

April 27, 2024

Vince McMahon Sells Final TKO Shares for $776M+ to End WWE Ties After 50+ Years

The Vince McMahon era has come to an end as he sold his remaining shares of stock in his former company, 42 years after buying it from his father. 

Rumors are circulating that Vince could use his billions to startup another company; he is said to be angry that he was “forced out” by the hierarchy of TKO after news of his sex scandal broke. Nick Khan has also filed to sell all of his shares in the company as well. 

Many call McMahon a genius, he was able to build a billion dollar empire before we all watched his stubborn ideology begin to affect the overall legacy of the company. The news of the NDA agreements and “hush money” to Janel Grant led to his initial retirement last year, and after forcing his way back in at TKO, the final attempt was the end of his tenure and apparent censure from the company he is synonymous with. 

It’s a new day. The Paul Levesque era is finally here, WrestleMania 40 was the most profitable and critically acclaimed event in recent history, and it’s a great time to be a professional wrestling fan. The “sports entertainment” era is finally over, and the once respected Vinnie Mac is now persona non grata in the business. Insiders say that McMahon’s office is as he left it, and he has not been and will not be back in the building, calling the infamous room “creepy” and saying the atmosphere overall at the company is much better in his absence.

April 22, 2024

UFC Apex to host first WWE event on June 9

WWE, in partnership with the UFC, has announced that NXT Battleground will take place at the UFC Apex on Sunday, June 9 in Las Vegas.

This will mark the first-ever WWE event that will be hosted at the 130,000-square foot production facility, home of UFC Fight Night events, Dana White's Contender Series and more.

"We are always exploring new frontiers to showcase NXT and we are excited to bring Battleground to this world-class production facility in partnership with UFC," said WWE Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative Shawn Michaels in a statement to ESPN.

Last September, UFC's parent company Endeavor and the WWE announced the closing of a merger between the mixed martial arts and professional wrestling promotions to create TKO. To date, there has been some crossover between the two brands, but this will be the most significant where a UFC venue will host a WWE event.

NXT Battleground was originally penciled in for May 26 at the Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Georgia but will now relocate to Las Vegas, the home of the UFC. The reasons behind the move were not made readily available. Still, the original date was during Memorial Day weekend and running up against rival promotion AEW's Double or Nothing pay-per-view event.

NXT Battleground is set to feature some of the biggest NXT superstars including NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov, NXT Women's Champion Roxanne Perez NXT North American Champion Oba Femi, NXT Tag Team Champions Axiom and Nathan Frazer, Trick Williams, Carmelo Hayes, Lyra Valkyria and more.

However, the talent featured at Battleground could change as the WWE Draft will take place starting on WWE SmackDown on April 26 and NXT talent could be moved to either Raw or SmackDown.

The UFC Apex typically hosts smaller crowds of under 500 people for Dana White's Contender Series and UFC Fight Night events. It is unknown how many tickets will be made available for Battleground but a 2022 article by the Las Vegas Review Journal cited that the UFC applied with the Clark County Zoning Commission to add the ability to host up to 1,000 people for events along with food and alcohol service, ticket sales and a souvenir shop.

source: espn.com

April 17, 2024

Vince McMahon's life after WWE: Kittens, vacations and staying in touch with Trump

As he faces a mountain of legal woes, former WWE leader Vince McMahon is traveling, eating out and keeping in touch with friends and associates — including former President Donald Trump.

McMahon resigned as executive chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment’s parent company almost three months ago after a former employee, Janel Grant, accused him in a bombshell lawsuit of sexual abuse and trafficking. He denied the allegations. McMahon, 78, is also facing a federal criminal investigation, although he hasn’t been charged.

NBC News and CNBC talked to 11 people familiar with McMahon and WWE about how he’s been spending his time — and how the global brand he built over more than four decades is moving on without him. These people, including close personal associates and company insiders, declined to be named, citing ongoing legal cases and the confidential nature of internal corporate communications.

Multiple WWE insiders said he hasn’t had any contact with company leaders and figureheads since he resigned. Mark Shapiro, the operating chief of WWE parent company TKO Group Holdings, said in March that McMahon “doesn’t work for the company, doesn’t come into the office, and he’s not coming back to the company.”

That also means McMahon hasn’t talked to his son-in-law, WWE creative chief and former superstar Paul “Triple H” Levesque, or daughter, Stephanie McMahon-Levesque, regarding company matters, sources said. While she introduced WWE’s WrestleMania event earlier this month, McMahon-Levesque, who worked beside her father for more than 20 years and played roles in storylines, currently has no involvement with the company, according to people familiar with the matter. Levesque and McMahon-Levesque declined to comment through a spokesperson, as did a WWE representative.

McMahon is nonetheless indelibly linked with the wrestling outfit, which he bought from his father 42 years ago. Still, he seems to have moved on, according to multiple sources. McMahon has kept up his other routines, and it’s as if he’s unfazed by his legal fights, two sources said...More?

source: nbcnews.com

April 14, 2024

Vince McMahon Puts Remaining TKO Stock Up For Sale in Major Financial Move

Vince McMahon is actively offloading his holdings in TKO stock, placing all his remaining shares on the market. According to a recent SEC filing, McMahon, alongside stockholders Nick Khan and Steven Koonin, listed their shares for sale but have not yet completed any transactions. McMahon has made available 8,021,405 shares, his entire remaining stake, following a sale earlier in the week of nearly 3.5 million shares, which brought him over $300 million.

Listing shares for sale does not guarantee their immediate purchase, but it does open the possibility for McMahon to potentially earn more. If sold at current market prices, his 8 million-plus shares could yield over $786 million. Amidst ongoing legal issues, McMahon has been converting his stock into cash rapidly, amassing approximately $1.5 billion from these sales. This aggressive divestment suggests that McMahon is distancing himself significantly from TKO and WWE, likely marking a permanent departure.

April 10, 2024

Triple H: I Told Ari Emanuel When TKO Formed, ‘I Just Want To Have Fun. If It’s Fun, I’ll Stay’

Triple H just wanted to have fun.

WWE and UFC officially merged in September 2023 to form TKO under the Endeavor banner. Triple H was already appointed as the Chief Content Officer, but Vince McMahon would often make remote changes throughout 2023.

With the merger, Vince started to become less involved until he eventually resigned as TKO Executive Chairman in January following a lawsuit against him where he was accused of sex trafficking and sexual assault.

With Vince fully out of the picture, Triple H has ushered in a new era.

"I’m loving what I do, that’s the biggest thing for me. When TKO went down and Ari Emanuel talked to me about this, I said, ‘I just want to have fun. If it’s fun, I stay. If It’s not, we’ll figure out something else.’ We’re having fun. I want everyone to have fun. When the signature was playing, I picked up the headset and said, ‘Biggest thing we want to remember tonight, everybody, have fun. Enjoy this.’ If this is fun, everybody loves it. If we have fun making it, you’re going to enjoy watching it. That’s what I believe," Triple H said at the WrestleMania XL press conference.

April 9, 2024

WrestleMania 40 Shatters Multiple WWE Records to Become Highest-Grossing Event in Company History

WrestleMania 40 broke multiple WWE records and has become the most successful live event in the company’s history.

WrestleMania 40 took place over two nights at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. Per WWE, the gate for the event was up 78% compared to the previous record set during WrestleMania 39, with 145,298 in attendance across both nights this year. The company also says viewership was up 41% versus last year, while merchandise sales — in partnership with Fanatics — was up more than 20% over last year.

But the live events on Saturday and Sunday nights are just one part of the story. WWE set up a massive presence in Philadelphia from Thursday-Monday. The company, along with Fanatics Events, hosted the WWE World experience at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where fans could pay to get up close with authentic WWE memorabilia from their archives as well as take part in immersive experiences. This was coupled with the WWE Superstore, which featured a wide range of branded merchandise from apparel to toys and beyond.

The April 5 episode of “SmackDown” originated from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, drawing the largest gate in “SmackDown” history. Likewise, the April 8 episode of “Monday Night Raw” drew the largest gate in “Raw” history. WWE also put on the NXT live event “Stand and Deliver” on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, which drew a record breaking crowd of 16,545, the most ever for an NXT event.

On social media, over 660 million views were generated across WWE’s social channels, while the WWE YouTube channel had its biggest day ever on Sunday with 67 million views in 24 hours.

WrestleMania 40 featured a number of smash hit matches, most notably the WWE Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes on Night 2. On Night 1, the two squared off with the aid of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Seth Rollins, respectively, in a tag team match that marked Johnson’s first match for WWE since 2016.

source: variety.com

April 7, 2024

The Rock comments on the job Triple H has done and how this WrestleMania felt knowing Vince McMahon is no longer involved

“I think that Triple H has done a tremendous job as our chief creative officer, I think that’s his title, he has a few, earned every single one of them. I like ushering in new things and new times and new eras and it feels like in our world here, professional wrestling, it is a new era that we’re ushering in. I talked to Triple H earlier as we were kicking off and kicking off the show tonight and without giving detail on what we talked about, it was a special night for him. This was the beginning of something and marking the beginning of something new for him, under his creative, and I think from a company standpoint, this is an exciting time for the company, for WWE, an exciting time for TKO. You felt the convergence towards the end of the year when the acquisition happened, you felt the convergence in the first quarter of the year as I was fortunate enough to come back and kind of traversed our way to what these storylines could look like, so it’s an exciting time and I think we capped off day one of WrestleMania that we had stated was gonna be the biggest of all time, which is really saying a lot given how many great WrestleManias there has been in the past, so I thought collectively as a company and a team, [it was] a really great show tonight.”

credit 411mania.com for the transcription

March 11, 2024

More WWE Executives Revealed As Key Figures In McMahon Sex Trafficking Suit; WWE Responds

More names have been revealed as part of the ongoing sex trafficking lawsuit against Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis WWE, and unnamed corporate officers.

A new report from Tim Marchman, John Pollock, and Brandon Thurston for Front Office Sports has named President Nick Khan and COO Brad Blum as those identified as Corporate Officers No.1 and No. 2 in the suit filed by Janel Grant in January.
Before their naming in the report, Khan and Blum were alleged to have been instrumental to a scheme in which Grant had been employed in a completely undefined role, except for the understanding that she would remain a sexual slave to be used and trafficked by McMahon within WWE. Khan and Blum are not personally accused of sexual wrongdoing but they are rather part of a group that is claimed to have facilitated and covered up exploitation in a way that would make WWE liable under federal anti-trafficking law.

Front Office Sports' report notes that Blum and Khan were identified independently alongside the two other anonymous corporate officers described in the suit by cross-referencing details within the filing with other records like online resumes and corporate filings. A WWE source also reportedly confirmed details within the suit, such as the location of Khan's office. All names were confirmed with Janel Grant's attorney, Ann Callis.

According to the suit, McMahon presented Blum and Khan to Grant as his key fixers. Nick Khan is the current WWE President under TKO's hierarchy following the merger with UFC last year and has been instrumental in the business growth behind the company in recent years.

The report continues to name Stephanie McMahon as Corporate Officer No.3 within the filing, who is mentioned once in an ambiguous context. It's told how Grant had attended meetings with WWE's executive committee, which was noted to be above her pay grade and something she had even inquired to Khan and Blum about regarding appropriateness. The suit alleged Stephanie McMahon had motioned for Grant to sit near her in these meetings. Ms. McMahon is also described as knowing of "other instances of [Vince] McMahon engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct".

Stephanie McMahon notably took a leave of absence in 2022 – three months after Vince McMahon and Janel Grant signed their $3 million NDA – from her role as Chief Brand Officer. A month later, reports emerged on a probe by the WWE board of directors into unauthorized payments involving NDAs with several former female employees and performers made by Vince McMahon, after which he resigned from his roles as CEO and Chairman and Stephanie McMahon became interim CEO and Chair. When Vince McMahon forced his way back onto the board in early 2023, Stephanie McMahon resigned from her role as Co-CEO – held alongside Nick Khan – and has not returned.

Front Office Sports further identified Brian Nurse – former general counsel and head of WWE's legal department – as Corporate Officer No.4. Nurse is described in the suit as offering the legal role to Janel Grant at the behest of Vince McMahon, a revelation allegedly made by McMahon to Ms. Grant before he sexually assaulted her for the first time. Nurse is claimed to have been terminated or asked to resign as one of a number of employees forced to resign or let go if they knew of McMahon's exploits and failed to assist, support, or facilitate them.

In response to the report, a WWE spokesperson told FOS:
“WWE takes Ms. Grant’s allegations very seriously and has no tolerance for any physical abuse or unwanted physical contact. Neither Nick Khan nor Brad Blum, prior to the lawsuit being filed on January 25, 2024, were aware of any allegation by Ms. Grant that she was the victim of abuse or unwanted physical contact; nor does the complaint allege that either had knowledge of such.”

Nick Khan, Brian Blum and Stephanie Mcmahon are not explicitly accused of wrongdoing.

March 10, 2024

WWE Sells Ring Mat Sponsorship for First Time in ‘Record-Setting’ Pact With Logan Paul’s Prime Sports Drink

On Friday, WWE announced a “record-setting” pact with Logan Paul and KSI’s Prime Hydration beverage brand to become the wrestling entertainment company’s exclusive “official hydration drink partner” and the first partner to ever appear on the center of the WWE ring.


With the deal, WWE is following the playbook of UFC, now its corporate cousin under TKO Group formed last year in a merger engineered by UFC owner Endeavor. Earlier this year, TKO brought together the global partnerships teams at UFC and WWE to form “a singular global partnerships unit with a unified sponsorship strategy,” the company said. 

WWE’s new deal with Prime comes after UFC in January 2023 struck an exclusive global partnership with the drink brand. Paul, a digital influencer and wrestling pro, also has a talent deal to appear in WWE’s SmackDown. 

Terms of the WWE-Prime sponsorship deal weren’t disclosed. WWE said Prime Hydration will receive “unprecedented exposure and integration” including on center-mat branding at premium live events including WrestleMania and Money in the Bank along with “key brand placement” within WWE events including WrestleMania XL and Survivor Series, match sponsorships, co-presenter designations and product activations at future live events, and social support from WWE Superstars across retail and digital activations.

“What Logan and his team have built in a short time is phenomenal and we’re excited to help showcase Prime Hydration across our biggest events,” WWE chief content officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque said.

Paul commented, “Combining two of my greatest achievements into one knockout partnership is a dream come true. We’ve worked incredibly hard at Prime to build a brand that disrupts the beverage industry and it’s time to join forces with the global leader in sports entertainment.” Paul co-founded Prime in 2022 with KSI, the British YouTuber, rapper, boxer and entrepreneur. 

In January, TKO announced 10-year deal with Netflix for WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” that delivers a significant step-up in fees for the franchise. TKO’s deal WWE “Raw” deal with Netflix ;has an initial 10-year term for an aggregate rights fee of more than $5 billion, or $500 million annually. That’s up from WWE’s current five-year deal for “Raw” with NBCUniversal, said to be worth approximately $250 million-$260 million per year. Netflix has the option to extend the pact for an additional 10 years or to opt out after five years.

source: variety.com

February 15, 2024

UFC, WWE partner on 5-year deal to bring events to Anaheim

The UFC and WWE merged last year into one company, the publicly traded TKO Group owned by Hollywood talent agency Endeavor. And now, some of the effects of that merger are coming to light. 


The UFC and WWE have signed a joint live event partnership with sports and entertainment district OC Vibe that will bring multiple events from both promotions to Honda Center in Anaheim, California, over the next five years, officials told ESPN on Thursday. An official announcement is expected later Thursday. 

Beginning this year, the UFC and WWE will hold at least three events each at the arena through 2028, including the possibility of UFC pay-per-view and Fight Night cards and WWE Raw or SmackDown television programs.

The deal does not specifically call for the UFC and WWE to hold events on back-to-back days or in the same week, though it's a possibility. The deal is the first of its kind since TKO Group formed officially last September -- and it could be indicative of how the new company will package the UFC and WWE together to jurisdictions and tourism authorities in the future. Both promotions have been actively looking for partners for these types of arrangements across the world, where local governments or private companies will pay to bring either one -- or both -- to their respective regions.

source:  espn.com

February 2, 2024

Federal Prosecutors Investigate Vince McMahon Sex-Trafficking Allegations

WWE co-founder Vince McMahon is under federal investigation over the allegations of sexual assault and sex trafficking against him, according to a report

Prosecutors in New York have been in touch with alleged victims of McMahon, people familiar with the investigation told the Wall Street Journal.

McMahon resigned last week from the WWE after former employee Janel Grant filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing her and trafficking her to other men inside the wresting giant.

The former honcho has denied the allegations and said the federal investigation won’t find wrongdoing.

“I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name,” he told the outlet in a statement.

 WWE didn’t respond to requests from the Journal about the investigation or about the individual women’s allegations. 

Brock Lesnar Pulled From WWE Digital Game Following Janel Grant Allegations

WWE star Brock Lesnar has reportedly been removed from the WWE 2K Supercard Digital Collectible Game, following allegations against him in the Janel Grant case. 

As per "PWInsider," Lesnar has been taken off the digital card game, and he will likely be "downplayed" or removed from various 2K games going forward. This is following the company's stance on Lesnar, who was originally supposed to be part of the men's Royal Rumble match last weekend, but was removed at the last minute following the news of the Vince McMahon allegations. 

The recent lawsuit filed by Janel Grant against McMahon alleged that the former WWE CEO asked Grant to reportedly create "personalized sexual content" for Lesnar, to persuade him to sign a new deal with WWE in 2020. Lesnar, who was to return to WWE at the Royal Rumble, was replaced by Bron Breakker in the match and the young star impressed in his Royal Rumble debut.

Following the allegations, Slim Jim, who had signed a deal with WWE last year, paused their contract with WWE, before returning to the fold after McMahon's resignation from TKO. WWE also removed a Vince McMahon shirt that was being sold at the Royal Rumble venue last Saturday after the allegations against McMahon came to light, while his WWE.com profile page was also removed. 

Dave Meltzer recently claimed that fans may have seen the last of Lesnar and McMahon in a WWE ring, due to the seriousness of the allegations against them. 

January 28, 2024

Triple H When Asked About Vince McMahon Allegations: I Want To Focus On The Positives

At the WWE Royal Rumble post-show press conference, Jon Alba asked WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H about the allegations against Vince McMahon and how the situation affects WWE.

“I’m gonna do exactly what you would expect me to do here,” Triple H said. “Look, we just had an amazing week. A ten-year, $5 billion Netflix deal, Rock joining our board. We just sold out the Royal Rumble, put 48,000 people in Tropicana Field. I choose to focus on the positive. Yes, there’s a negative, but I want to focus on that and just keep it to that.”

Triple H was then asked to describe what is being done to make sure people in positions of power can’t take advantage of employees under them.

“I’ll give you the most generalized answer that I can. Everything possible. That is a very important thing to us, a very important topic to us. It’s as simple as everything possible.”

Triple H Says He Has Not Read The Lawsuit

Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics subsequently asked Triple H whether he read the lawsuit featuring the allegations against Vince McMahon.

“I did not. I did not,” Triple H said. “I think Cody mentioned it, that we all found out real-time when you were, and that’s the truth. I’ll go back to what I said before. This is an amazing week for us. I just, at this point, I don’t even want to get bogged down in the negatives of it. I just want to focus on the positives and where we’re going, and we’re at the most exciting time of the year for us, we’re at the most exciting point, to me, business-wise I think that we’ve ever had.

“I think [it’s] the best positioning of this company since the A.ttitude Era. I’ve been through that era. I understand what it’s like. I feel like we are in the middle of something that, while we might not be able to put our finger on it right now, five, ten years from now, we’re gonna be saying wow, what a time that was. I want to focus on that.”

January 27, 2024

End Of An Era 2.0

For the first time since its inception as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation in the 1950's, the only member of the McMahon family currently with the WWE is a Levesque. End of an era.

January 26, 2024

Statement from Vince McMahon as he officially resigns from TKO

“I stand by my prior statement that Ms. Grant’s lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and is a vindictive distortion of the truth. I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name.” 

“However, out of respect for the WWE Universe, the extraordinary TKO business and its board members and shareholders, partners and constituents, and all of the employees and Superstars who helped make WWE into the global leader it is today, I have decided to resign from my executive chairmanship and the TKO board of directors, effectively immediately.”

Vince McMahon Resigns from Executive Roles at TKO Group Amid Legal Turmoil

Vince McMahon has stepped down from his roles as the Executive Chairman and Board Member of TKO Group Holdings, Inc., a conglomerate created by Endeavor, incorporating both WWE and UFC.

In a communication with employees, WWE President and member of the TKO Board, Nick Khan, announced, "Vince McMahon has relinquished his positions as TKO's Executive Chairman and as a member of the TKO Board of Directors," as reported by Variety. "His involvement with both TKO Group Holdings and WWE has come to an end."

This development follows a lawsuit filed against McMahon by Janel Grant, a former WWE employee. The lawsuit charges McMahon, along with the company and ex-WWE executive John Laurinaitis, of abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking her to other individuals, including Laurinaitis, previously the head of talent relations at WWE.

January 25, 2024

Statement From TKO Group Holdings Concerning The McMahon Lawsuit

After WWE founder Vince McMahon was sued by a former employee, who alleged that he abused and sexually exploited her when he was CEO of the wrestling-entertainment company, a spokesperson for TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of WWE and UFC, said in a statement:


“Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE. While this matter predates our TKO executive team’s tenure at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally.”

WWE Founder Vince McMahon Accused of Sexual Abuse and Trafficking in Lawsuit by Former Employee

It's arguably been the most newsworthy week in WWE history, after the promotion announced a 10-year, $5 billion deal with Netflix Tuesday, with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon front and center at the New York Stock Exchange. Now on Thursday, McMahon is front and center again, for all the wrong reasons.

The Wall Street Journal reports that McMahon has been sued by former WWE employee Janel Grant, who has accused McMahon of sex trafficking. The lawsuit, filed Thursday morning, further alleges that McMahon abused and sexually exploited her while he was still WWE's Chief Executive, that he coerced her into sexual relations with the "promise of career advancement," and would later traffic her to other men within WWE.

Grant, who signed an NDA with WWE in 2022, claims she first met McMahon in 2019 in the apartment building they both lived in. McMahon allegedly promised Grant work at WWE and proceeded to "shower her with gifts." The suit goes on to allege that McMahon pressured her into sexual activities in order to secure her a job. Grant was hired by WWE in June 2019 as "administration coordinator," a position McMahon allegedly created for her. She subsequently had little work to do, leading to other WWE employees complaining, and Grant believing her job was "unearned."

Grant further alleges that McMahon would send her sexually explicit messages, increased demands for sex, and began forcefully using "toys" during sex, injuring her. She also claims McMahon would share photos and videos of her with other WWE execs and wrestlers, and that he recruited others in WWE to have sex with her, including then WWE head of talent relations John Laurinaitis. The suit further alleges Grant's mental and physical health deteriorated, leading to McMahon sending her to what was described as a "celebrity doctor" in November, and later paying $20K for surgery.

The suit goes on to claim that Grant would be transferred to the talent-relations division in May 2021, leading to her working directly under Laurinanitis. Grant alleges that a month after the transfer, McMahon and Laurinaitis would lock her in an office, and took turns sexually assaulting her, followed by McMahon assaulting her again a week later.

The suit further claims that Grant would sign an NDA in January 2022, after McMahon told her his wife, Linda McMahon, had learned about their relationship. Nevertheless, McMahon would only pay $1 million of the agreement before ceasing making payments and continued his abuse through March 2022. Grant would also once again text explicit photos to the WWE star, but the two would still never meet.

January 23, 2024

Netflix to Become New Home of WWE Raw Beginning 2025

WWE, part of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO), and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) today announced a long-term partnership that will bring WWE’s flagship weekly program – Raw – to the world’s leading entertainment service. This marks a major programming shift as Raw leaves linear television for the first time since its inception 31 years ago.

Beginning in January 2025, Netflix will be the exclusive new home of Raw in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Latin America, among other territories, with additional countries and regions to be added over time. Likewise, as part of the agreement, Netflix will also become the home for all WWE shows and specials outside the U.S. as available, inclusive of Raw and WWE’s other weekly shows – SmackDown and NXT – as well as the company’s Premium Live Events, including WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble. WWE’s award-winning documentaries, original series and forthcoming projects will also be available on Netflix internationally beginning in 2025.

“This deal is transformative,” said Mark Shapiro, TKO President and COO. “It marries the can’t-miss WWE product with Netflix’s extraordinary global reach and locks in significant and predictable economics for many years. Our partnership fundamentally alters and strengthens the media landscape, dramatically expands the reach of WWE, and brings weekly live appointment viewing to Netflix.”

“We are excited to have WWE Raw, with its huge and passionate multigenerational fan base, on Netflix,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer, Bela Bajaria. “By combining our reach, recommendations, and fandom with WWE, we’ll be able to deliver more joy and value for their audiences and our members. Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE.”

“In its relatively short history, Netflix has engineered a phenomenal track record for storytelling,” said Nick Khan, WWE President. “We believe Netflix, as one of the world’s leading entertainment brands, is the ideal long-term home for Raw’s live, loyal, and ever-growing fan base.” 

With 1,600 episodes to date, Raw is the most iconic show in sports entertainment. Since its debut in 1993, Raw has delivered action, compelling drama and unmatched athleticism – 52 weeks a year. Blending the best of scripted content with unpredictable live entertainment, the three-hour show has helped launch the careers of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple  H, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair.

The show is currently the No. 1 show on USA Network, where it brings in 17.5 million unique viewers over the course of the year. One of television’s best performing shows in the 18-49 advertising demographic, Raw trends on X 52 weeks a year while each new episode is airing. On social media, WWE has more than one billion followers across its platforms.

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Oderint Dum Metuant: Let Them Hate As Long As They Fear